The journey of Hajj with some reflections
Every time of the year the season of Hajj comes there is around in the atmosphere feeling of the sweetness and greatness of this act of worship, yes Hajj has its own merits, its own beauty, and its own taste, everyone who goes to Hajj knows how it feels like, and how effective impacts it has on the souls and hearts.
Hajj is a foundation, Islam is based on Hajj which is one of its pillars, a pillar that is required from every Muslim once in a life time, it is a journey of a life time, it is just like that, but there are so many wisdoms and lessons that Allah Has put in this wonderful journey that some people fail to understand and realize, and here we are trying to reveal much of the secrets of this wonderful journey which is a summary of our existence in this world, and in Hajj we find a symbol to every goodness, a symbol to every righteous notion that might come to our mind.
A person who is determent to go to Hajj here he faces the inner struggle, should I do it now or shall I let things go normal and make it later on? I still have time! No Go! Allah loves the things that are high, so always look for things that are high, if you are able to do it don’t be hesitant, don’t ever postpone it, who knows if you are going to live for the next year or not, think of the people who are unable to do it and be thankful that Allah Has made it easy for you and don’t waste this opportunity.
Now the farewell before your travelling; you have to say good bye to the people around you, this reminds you of the moment when you leave this world, the moment when you leave your family but at that moment you will not be able to say goodbye, because the tongue will be tied, and you are taken by force out of this world, the soul will be dragged out, this should make you contemplate what have you prepared for that time? Are you going to receive glad tidings from Allah or what? The journey of Hajj reminds us that in this life we are in a similar journey, we are not here to stay forever, because we will never stay forever, we are here on a temporary basis, we are here to be tested and to fulfill the commands of Allah (S.W.T), we are on a journey moving from one stage to the other, and whether we like it or not we are on a journey, so don’t lose track, don’t take the side roads, keep yourself on the main road that will take you to your destination, and don’t get lost here or there, so Hajj reminds us of the reality of this life, it is not a settlement, we are made of days, every time you are getting older you are losing days not gaining, this is how we should perceive life, so make your calculations right, and be ready for meeting Allah.
Before we set out for Hajj it is important to remember that we are going there in response to the call of Allah (S.W.T), this is why the pilgrims say: “O Allah I am here in the response of your call.”
Travelling needs a lot of patience, it is a piece of torment, and there are a lot of inconvenience about it, this is why it reveals much of the character of human beings, it trains the soul and tame the nafs, so there is a lot of wisdom that we take from travelling, and as a traveler you are heading to a destination, this teaches you that this is a journey in which your destinations are Mecca, Mena, Arafa, and so on, and in life you are also in a journey and you are heading towards Allah’s pleasure, so that you can get back to your original house in paradise, that’s our destinations, don’t be attracted by the side roads, if you take them they will take you off track.
And also people who travel a lot you see them very patient with the things that they face, and in this world everyone is travelling moving from one stage to the other, so it needs a lot of patience.
Through Hajj and travelling we get to learn certain rules about Islam like shortening the prayer which can be mainly done when we are travelling, and also if we run out of water we can make tayammum, and those who feel doubtful about this through Hajj they will get to know that it is accepted by Allah so we get the opportunity to know these rulings by doing them at that time, so we learn them by practice, and once we learn more about Islam we will be rewarded from Allah (S.W.T).
Almost most of your companions in this journey are good friends because of the humbleness Allah puts in their hearts, they avoid everything evil because they are seeking the same destination you are seeking, and those people don’t lose this friendship because it reminds them of the sweet memories they spent together, and this shows us the concept of brotherhood in Islam and the importance of having good companions in our journey in this world.
Once you reach the meqat the area where you have to make Ihraam reminds you that there are certain conditions, certain rituals for you in order to enter the sacred place, it creates in the heart the feeling of the greatness of the house of Allah (S.W.T).
You have to wear the cloth of Ihraam, the upper garment and the lower garment, two pieces of cloth that are more similar to the shroud with which we shroud the dead person before we put him in the grave, these clothes of Ihraam are not made to fit your waist, your shoulder or whatever, they are like the shroud so remember the moment when you will not be able to put these clothes on, somebody else will put them for you, because at that time you will be helpless.
Allah also shows us that this land is blessed it is the dearest to Allah and to his messenger, this is why we need spiritual and physical preparation before we enter it, and in Islam we find that our hearts and actions go together, what is in our heart is reflected on our action, and what we do; reflects what is in our hearts, and this is something that we see in Hajj, everybody looks the same, and the intention is one.
Every Muslims wears the same fashion there, rich or poor, black or white, old or young no matter where they came from because they are all Muslims, they are all servants of Allah (S.W.T), they are all equal, and this humbleness before our Creator should do away with everything that reminds us with the differences, all what makes us different is our actions, this is the only reason for distinction, but all this material world is nothing in the side of Allah (S.W.T), this brings the solidarity and the unity among Muslims.
Even entering the state of Ihraam has certain rules, hunting and game are prohibited, saying evil words is not permissible, you cannot use perfume because it reminds you of the beauty of this life, having marital relationship is not permissible, all of this puts us in some kind of psychological readiness that we are coming to a great place doing a great act of worship seeking Allah, and only Allah.
So this experience will leave a permanent impact on our lives, when people go to Hajj and come back they become totally different people, it changes people drastically, this is why Hajj was made one of the pillars of Islam.
The pilgrim starts saying:
“O Allah, here I have come in the response of your call, there is no god but You, You are the only one who has the right to be worshipped (the concept in Tawheed is there and in every act of worship, that we are doing, that this is for you alone o Allah), all praise is due to you, dominion over the universe is only to you oh Allah (which means that nothing happens except what You have decreed and no one can bring harm or goodness apart from You, no one has real ownership over anything except You, You are unique, All praise is due to Allah and all the bounties are from You, ( which means that every gift, every bounty, and every grace that we utilize is from Allah we acknowledge that everything belongs to Allah, and He can take everything whenever He wants, so don’t be arrogant by thinking that you own your own self, Allah is the One who has blessed us with many things and no matter how much we try to praise Allah we will never be able to praise Him as He deserves to be praised, but we try our best), oh Allah you have no partners (in your greatness, in your Names and in your Attributes) “
This is a covenant between you and Allah that for the rest of your life you will be submissive to Him asking Him to free me from my sins.
And once you see the Ka’ba you cannot help it, you cannot control your tears, you feel the sweetness of Imaan, the presence of the angels, and the mercy of Allah (S.W.T), and you which you will not leave this place and will stay there forever, the heart is filled with all sorts of wonderful feeling, it is a paradise on earth.
Then we go to the house and make Tawaf, when we go around the Ka’ba seven times, that’s one of the most spiritual times in our lives, we feel Allah’s greatness, we remember the prophet (peace be upon him), maybe the prophet stood in the same spot I am standing now, he must have come across this area or that area, the companions of the prophet were here as well spreading Islam, they were tortured here, and they proved to be real believers here, hopefully we can be like them and follow their steps.
We also remember the story of Abraham when he left his wife and his child here in this sacred place without food and water, based on the command of Allah, the little child start screaming, Hajar put her trust in Allah but she didn’t sit there doing nothing, she kept going here and there searching for water until she heard the angel hitting the ground with his wing and the water of Zamzam gushed out, we do this like here out of submission to Allah even if we don’t know the wisdom behind it.
We remember how Abraham and Ismail built this house facing many challenges; all of this comes to our mind when we pray behind the Maqam of Abraham.
This place is full with the smell of Islam, and the sacrifice of the early generations.
On the eighth of Dhul-Hijja, the day of al-Tarwiah all people go to Menah, they stay there until the sun of the day of ‘Arafa rises, once it raises they all go to ‘Arafa
Now in one open landscape you see millions of people, this reminds every one of the day of judgment, that all human beings will be gathered on the day of judgment, these are two, three, or maximum four million people in this area, what about when the whole humanity throughout ages, throughout history will be gathered together in one open landfill?! The day of judgment which will last for fifty thousand years, people will be there waiting for their accounts, and they will be judged according to their actions
The day of ‘Arafa is the day of Hajj, it has its own spirituality that the pilgrims feel, and even people who are far away from that area can feel as well, the pilgrims are supplicating to Allah, their hearts are attached to Him, you see them; some of them sitting, some of the standing, some of them in their tents, some of them in the shade of a tree, all of them are making Dua’ and seeking Allah’s forgiveness, and you wish that you were with them, what a great privilege to be with the pilgrims on that day.
Satan was never seen so humiliated, so pathetic and so defeated like on the day of ‘Arafa‘.
On that day Allah will gather the angels and say to them: “look at my servants they have come to me dusty from all the corners of the world for my sake, they are asking me to forgive their sins, bear witness that I have pardoned them…” [Declared Hasan (good) by Al-Albani].
«فإذا وقف بعرفة، فإن الله عز وجل ينزل إلى السماء الدنيا فيقول: انظروا إلى عبادي شعثا غبرا، اشهدوا أني غفرت لهم ذنوبهم...» حسنه الألباني
So they are clean now, they have come back as the time when they were born.
Now when the time will come for us to be included by this statement that is said by Allah (S.W.T)!
There is no time when Allah referees people from the hellfire as it happens and occurs on the day of Arafa, when Allah shower people with His mercy.
Even the whole world, all channels try to cover Hajj because it is one of the most important rituals of Islam.
Some people they save money for many years, they keep saving money depriving themselves from many basic needs just to make this journey of life, and go and perform Hajj for the sake of Allah (S.W.T), some of them wish that they die in a state of Ihraam, so that on the day of Judgment they will be raised saying Talbiah.
The pilgrims start leaving ‘Arafa after sunset, they go to spend the night in Muzdalifah to remember Allah and mention his Name, it is the Sunnah of the prophet, so don’t do away with it.
On the day of Eid, the day of Nahr, we remember Abraham and Ismail may Allah be pleased with them, when Abraham was commanded to slaughter his son, both of them showed total submission to Allah, yes submission this teaches us that Islam is a continuation of other religions, the message is one which is Islam; submission to Allah, this is a fact that should be established in our hearts.
Then after slaughtering the animal, in order to get out of the state of Ihraam here comes shaving the hair or have a haircut, but shaving is the best.
Then the pilgrims go to the house do Tawaf and then they do Sa’i, then comes throwing the pebbles, and don’t forget to make Dua’ after the first and the second one this is what the prophet did, and Insha’Allah the Hajj of the next year will not come except that your Dua’ will be accepted by Allah (S.W.T), many people have experienced that.
Hajj has the message of being submissive to Allah in all our affairs, obeying Him blindly without asking why, even if our limited minds don’t understand the meaning, the benefit or the wisdom of some of the commands of Allah, we still fulfill them, because we are His servants and the servant’s job is to obey the master, this is all what we have to do, to obey Allah (S.W.T).
We say to the pilgrims: “Congratulations!, may Allah accept from you and us, and grant us Hajj next year, a Hajj that will be accepted from Him Insha’Allah”.